New Possibilities

Life After Miscarriage, Miscarriage

No, this is not a pregnancy announcement or a trying to conceive announcement. This isn’t an announcement at all, but rather a vision for new opportunities. I love having friends and family who know me. I love having these people in my life who take the time to listen and care for my needs and desires as a person and as a woman.

Recently, one of my best friends gave me a gift. At first when I received the gift, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. My friend Reaghan gave me a planner, but not just any planner. She gave me a Mommy To Be planner. This planner is specifically for expectant moms who want to organize and prepare for their baby’s arrival.

Now, I didn’t ask for this gift, and frankly I was a little shocked to have received it. After my first miscarriage, I knew I would eventually want to try and have another baby. But after experiencing a second miscarriage, I’m not really sure how I feel. I’ve had two pregnancies that ended with surgery, and trauma. I don’t know if I can bare another loss. I don’t know if my heart can take it. It scares me.

However, even though I’m not sure if I could handle another pregnancy, I am sure of something. I want to be mom. I believe I will be a mom somehow and in someway. Whether it’s through foster care, adoption, pregnancy, surrogacy, or ministry… I believe it’s what God has called me to do.

I think that’s why Reaghan gave me this gift. Not because she thinks I’m trying to get pregnant, and not because she didn’t know what to get me, but because she knows me. She knows I want to be a mom and she knew just what to give me in this time in my life, when I simply don’t know what the next step is. She is a true friend. ❤️

A Recap of 2019

Just Me Blogging

What can I say about 2019? This year has been life changing, hard, emotional, shocking, grief stricken, crazy, a whirlwind, encouraging and just down right challenging. Regardless, of the fact that the bad often out weighed the good, I’m thankful. Another year is in the books. I would like to take a moment and take a look back at my 2019.

In January…

I found out I was pregnant

I started my first internship at a government agency.

I became president of a student organization.

In February…

I saw my baby on ultrasound

I suffered my first miscarriage

I had a D & C

I switched internship sites, and started interning for the Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign on campus.

In March…

March is a blur.

I recovered physically from surgery.

Emotionally I was in a fog.

In April…

I presented on Trauma in my internship.

I received the Healing and Growth Award at my internship.

Started my Blog!!!

In May…

I celebrated my first Mother’s Day

I took a getaway to the lake shore with my husband.

I completed my internship.

In June…

Got diagnosed with hypothyroidism

Committed to a Summer of Self care

Started another internship

Reopened my Etsy Shop.

In July…

Published for the first time, my story in a magazine.

In August…

Started working out regularly.

Started my senior year of college.

Attended a University football game.

In September…

Got pregnant for the second time.

Honored my due date

Took a weekend trip to the cabin with my girls

Suffered a second miscarriage.

In October…

Started writing my book.

Became temporarily anemic

Celebrated Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day.

Hubby got in a car accident.

Applied and got approved for graduation in April 2020.

In November…

Decorated for Christmas

Hosted a Friendsgiving with my college friends.

Celebrated 3 years of marriage.

Cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and I.

Presented a speech on miscarriage.

In December…

Finished my second to last semester of college.

Got another car.


All in all, this year has been a little crazy. I pray that the new decade and new year is sweeter, and smoother for everyone.

My Worst Fear… Again

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

The following post is my story of how I experienced my second miscarriage. In this post I show vulnerability in retelling my second loss. I also share details in my miscarriage, so I do want to offer a TRIGGER WARNING before anyone begins reading my post. Please feel free to stop reading, and take care of you if my words, and my story are challenging to read.

At 12am on Sunday September 29th, I was startled awake. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had just gotten home from the ER a few hours prior. I was advised by my doctors and nurses to get some rest. I had only been asleep for a few hours when I woke up at midnight. I was confused. My heart was racing. I was sweating and I felt really uncomfortable. It’s just anxiety. Calm down. Relax. Baby is okay. I tried talking myself down from my minor panic attack.


I nudged Charles awake. He held my hand and we both fell back asleep.


I woke up again around 2:15am. I woke up sweaty and gross and had to go to the bathroom. I was scared to see I was still spotting and it was getting worse. I was now seeing bright red blood instead of light pink. In wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was getting darker. I prayed, prayed, prayed then fell back asleep.

I woke up at 4am in pain. Cramps radiated from my groin throughout my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I held my belly, then curled up in a ball. It wasn’t taking the pain away. I got out of bed and tried stretching my legs and my back. I was so confused. What was going on? Why was I in so much pain? After a few minutes of stretching the pain died down. I laid back down. Fifteen minutes later it happen again. Sheering pain was radiating through my core. I tried stretching, pacing and slowly breathing, at that moment it dawned on me. Oh my gosh… I know what this is. Cramps that are painful that radiate throughout my back. Uncomfortable positions. Pain every few minutes. This pain wasn’t just cramps, these were labor pains. I was in labor and I was going to lose this baby.

When this realization hit me, I wanted to throw up. Part of it was the pain, and part of it was my mind and emotions trying to catch up with what my body already knew. I had cramps every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes, then every five. I paced through my apartment, tried laying in bed and tried sitting on the toilet. Nothing helped with the pain. Around 5:15am, I found myself laying on my bathroom floor sobbing.


I felt scared and alone. I considered waking up Charles, but I didn’t. I didn’t want him to be scared.


At 5:36am I cried out to God. I pleaded with God to help me. I knew my baby was already gone, and my body had a job to do. I knew this was completely out of my control. I knew the end was coming, but I couldn’t bare to think about it. I asked God that if this was it, if I was truly going to lose my baby, then could He just please make it quick. Ten minutes later at 5:46am, I felt my baby leave my body. I felt blood pour out of me and I felt my heart shatter yet again as I said I’m so sorry to my baby, and left the bathroom.

I went into my room and woke up Charles. I sobbed and told him what happen. He was confused and saddened. He held me and we cried together. That was it, it was done. My second pregnancy and my Rainbow Baby Chase were gone.


The next morning we woke up and tried to wrap our minds around what had happen. I took it easy that day, since my body was truly drained. I reached out to family and friends and let them know what had happen. They sent their love and condolences. I couldn’t believe it. We lost another baby. Why? That afternoon, Alli and Andrea sent us some flowers that read: In Loving Memory of Baby Chase. Reading this made me cry, and after that I didn’t cry for awhile. I didn’t feel like I should.

A Scare at 7 Weeks and 3 Days

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.

Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.


Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!


I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.

Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.

One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….


Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.


Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.

That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……

7 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy

At 7 weeks pregnant… I started to feel better. My nausea started to subside, and food was starting to appeal to me again. I think that since I had already experienced a loss, this symptom made me really nervous and anxious. I feared that I was losing my pregnancy symptoms and I was going to lose another pregnancy. However, I also wondered if it was just my nerves talking and this pregnancy was different than the first.

Around 6 weeks and 6 days I started to experience a really weird symptom. It was an aching pain deep near my cervix. It kind of felt like a menstrual cramp, but also just felt sore. I started to get concerned about this symptom as I had never experienced it during pregnancy before. I asked a friend and even a nurse at my OB clinic. They all said it sounded pretty normal. I also Googled the symptom, which probably wasn’t a good idea. The only term I could find was lightning pain. This is a term used when a woman experiences pain at the start of labor. I figured that probably wasn’t what I had and just decided to trust that everything was okay.

At 7 weeks exactly, I had my first OB appointment. I ended up going to the appointment by myself since Charles had class. It was just like last time as I had to sit with a nurse and talk about my medical history. I also met with the community health worker. In this meeting I felt compelled to share with her about my previous loss and how I was treated. I expressed to her how I was given promotional offers, samples and other reminders from various places. I shared how hurt I felt that I wasn’t given any resources until 3 months later. I expressed how I wasn’t treated kindly by my doctors. Lastly, I shared the struggle in the waiting room and how it can be hard on any woman of loss to have to sit among other pregnant moms.


The community health worker was so kind and supportive. She listened intently and allowed me to feel heard.


6 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy

My second pregnancy was different than my first. For my pregnancy with Mackenzie, I was in shock for days and not at all prepared. For my pregnancy with Chase, I was very prepared for the first trimester as I knew what pregnancy symptoms to expect. At 6 weeks I was already feeling nauseated, tired, hungry and hormonal.


Though these early pregnancy symptoms weren’t exactly fun, they gave me comfort knowing my baby was doing okay, and my pregnancy was on track.


For this pregnancy, I had my mind made up that I definitely didn’t want too many people to know. I didn’t come to this decision lightly. The reason I didn’t want to share about our pregnancy isn’t because we didn’t want people’s love and support; more less, we just wanted to keep it under wraps until I was further along. I don’t in any way regret telling people I was pregnant before my first miscarriage….. but I have learned a lot since then. I have learned that people will look at you differently when you go through a traumatic event. I also learned that though people may have good intentions… they can say some really hurtful things on the topic of miscarriage. Due to all of this, Charles and I decided to keep things a secret until we were ready to handle other people’s opinions.

At this stage in my pregnancy, I had so much peace. I had peace knowing and believing my baby was going to be okay. All the statistics and stories I had read, told me I was more likely to have a healthy pregnancy than a repeat miscarriage. My HCG and thyroid levels were great for a healthy pregnancy. I was ten times stronger than I was before experiencing a loss. Lastly, my faith, my education, my relationships and my job were all in a good place. Things were starting to go right for once.

A Weekend Away to Honor My Due Date

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

On Friday September 13th, my best friends Alli, Andrea and I all took a trip to their family’s cabin. This was a well needed trip as not only did we all need a vacation and time to catch up with one another, but I also wanted to take time away to grieve and honor my due date. My due date with Mackenzie was technically on September 16th, but since that day landed on a Monday, we decided to take a weekend trip instead.

The night before leaving for our trip, I decided to share with Andrea and Alli that I was pregnant again. I sent them both a picture of my felt letter board declaring that I was 5 weeks. They both were very excited for us and even suspected I might be pregnant again.

On Friday evening around 5pm, we left for our trip. We were headed up north. We spent the car ride talking and catching up. On the way to the cabin we stopped to get gas, get some groceries, and even got some Subway. When we arrived at the cabin, we got everything situated including turning on the water, and bringing in our luggage. We spent the evening playing board games, and telling stories. It was the perfect way to start our weekend away.

The next morning we woke up to a site so incredibly tranquil. In the living room of the cabin, there is a beautiful front window that faces miles of woods and meadow. This scene is especially beautiful in the mornings as the sun is rising, and the sun shines through the leaves of the trees. That morning we were able to see this beautiful scene, along with deer frolicking through the woods, and the sound of birds singing their morning song. It was breath taking.

That morning I also told my parents about my pregnancy. I texted my Dad and Grandma a picture of my felt board, and I told my mom over the phone. My mom cried but seemed okay. My dad seemed okay but was cautious as well. Later, the three of us headed to Traverse City Michigan. This city was just over an hour away from our cabin. In Traverse City, we walked around enjoying some window shopping. We also took a stroll down to the lake shore and enjoyed beautiful Lake Michigan. Andrea and I relaxed and sat in the sand. Alli took a stroll down the shore.

As I sat on the shore, I took a few moments to soak it all in. As I heard the waves crash on to the shore, I went deep into thought. I was supposed to be having Mackenzie right now. I was supposed to be in labor and giving birth. I was supposed to be preparing to hold my baby. These were things I thought were supposed to be different. I reflected back to this last year, when 2019 began. I got pregnant. I was so scared, but so incredibly excited. I enjoyed my pregnancy, fell in love with my baby, and prepared to announce with my family. My heart shattered when we were given the news our baby no longer had a heart beat. I went through grief, surgery, thyroid problems, weight and postpartum struggles, depression and anxiety. I also started a blog, shared my story in Toi Magazine, got a job as an assistant editor, developed relationships and friendships with other wonderful women, and even started my own business. Lastly, I came to a place where I conquered my worst fear. Losing Mackenzie was the hardest event in my life I have ever experienced, but through it, as my momma would say, I have become resilient.


I am stronger and more resilient because of Mackenzie and because of what God has allowed me to go through. Due to this, I am filled with gratitude.


I continued thinking about how far I’ve come and where I am now. I am pregnant again, I thought. I had come full circle. I thanked God for this beautiful baby. I even thanked Mackenzie for sending us little Chase right when we needed him most. I held a tiny bit of guilt and feared I was replacing Mackenzie with this baby, but I knew I wasn’t. When I last visited Mackenzie’s garden, I asked her to send us another baby. I knew then that God would send us another baby in His timing.

When we returned from Traverse City, we all took a nap back at the cabin. After our nap we made dinner together. Homemade pizza and salad is what was on the menu. It was delicious and fun to cook together. For the rest of the trip, we continued bonding, telling stories and catching up on each other’s lives. Since Andrea and I were both pregnant, the conversation was often surrounded around pregnancy and comparing each of our pregnancies. I am really thankful to have been able to go on this trip with my girls, as well as go to the lakeshore to reflect and honor my due date.

Pregnant Again!?!?

Pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant again….. I was filled with a lot of emotions. The last time I was pregnant, I was excited, scared, confused and feared the unknown. This time I was excited and scared because I feared of the past. I prayed for this baby and had peace for whenever God decided to bless us again. When we were blessed with another baby I prayed over Baby Chase everyday. As my pregnancy progressed, I had a lot of faith, which was really surprising. For some reason, I knew everything was going to be okay. I had peace that this baby was happy, healthy and safe. I hesitated on planning for a future and getting too excited, but I talked to Chase. Charles talked to Chase. We showed him love and were thankful for every single day we had with him.

We again were embarking on a second adventure of pregnancy. Before I got off birth control, I did some deep self reflecting and asked myself Could I handle another loss if it were to happen? I didn’t want to think of having another loss, but at the same time it’s something I needed to consider. I came to the conclusion that yes. Though it would be excruciating, I could do it because of my faith, how much I have worked on myself in the past year and my strong marriage,


I knew Charles and I could survive another loss if it were to happen.


Taking Pregnancy Tests is Exhausting.

Pregnancy

In the beginning of September, I had a really strange feeling. Everything was coming together, I was moody, but in a good place. Charles and I started our semester on August 28th. I reflected back to the last time I started a semester, and I found out I was pregnant. It would be nice to be pregnant again, but I wasn’t in a rush. I was in my last two semesters of school, so I was okay with a few months of trying.

I was expecting to get my period around September 7th. Through the first week of school though, I kinda felt pregnant, or had really bad PMS. I really wasn’t stressed since senioritis had officially kicked in. I was just grouchy. Around September 4th, on my Daddy’s birthday food was not settling well on my tummy. I felt hot, uncomfortable and just in a bad mood.


It reminded me of when I was pregnant, but since I wasn’t late for my period… I blamed it on PMS.


On September 5th, I got sick. I ate some Greek nachos with Charles for dinner and threw up. At that point, I knew I was pregnant again. I tried telling Charles but he didn’t think so. That night we took a trip to the dollar store to get some home pregnancy tests. I took the first test that night and it was a big fat negative. I knew it probably wasn’t that accurate because it was in the evening and I wasn’t late for my period.

The next morning when I woke up, I took another pregnancy test. Negative. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant. Just bad PMS this month for some reason. I told myself if I didn’t get my period by tomorrow, I would take the last test I had. Through out the day at school, smells were not appealing, I knew this was another pregnancy symptom, but I told myself I was crazy. That evening I brushed my teeth, and had a gagging fit.


Maybe I was pregnant.


The morning of the 7th, my period didn’t come. I took another test when I first got up. Negative. Hmm… this was getting exhausting. No period. I felt really yucky and three negative pregnancy tests. Charles and I talked and he didn’t think I was pregnant… but he also didn’t think I was the last time either. Something told me I was. I was listening to my body and even though all the tests said no, I knew I was. Charles and I went out and bought the more expensive pregnancy tests. These were the tests you take 5 days before your missed period.

The evening of September 7th, I took the test. I wanted to wait until the next morning so it was more accurate, but Charles wanted answers now. I went into the bathroom and took my 4th pregnancy test in a week. It wasn’t negative… but it wasn’t positive either. There was nothing! No test line and no control line. It was a defective test. I was so frustrated. I then took the other test out of the box and tested again. No line! I was so upset! These were supposed to be the good tests and they were both defective. This was a cruel joke.

The next day, Charles and I picked up two more dollar store pregnancy tests. This was it. I was frustrated, tired and so confused. My body was telling me one thing, but these tests were either broken or telling me something else. If they were negative and I got my period I would be okay. I’d be mad because I spent so much money on tests, but I’d be okay.

The morning of the 9th I started work from home. My boss ordered me lunch and I had a pretty chill day. I didn’t feel good especially after I ate. After I was finished with work I took a three hour nap. When I woke up, I couldn’t take it anymore. If I wasn’t pregnant, there was something really wrong with me. Even though it was the evening, I took another test. I watched the test the whole three minutes. By two minutes, I swore my eyes were deceiving me.


Did I see two lines? It was faint, but there was something there. I knew it!


The morning of September 10th, I took another pregnancy test. Two lines! The second line was slightly darker than the night before. My nephew was having surgery that morning and Charles and I planned to go visit him. Since my OB was in the same hospital, I decided to call and get my pregnancy confirmed that morning. After visiting with my nephew I got my blood work done. Now I just had to wait to know for sure.

Within 24 hours I got my results. I was pregnant! My HCG levels were in the 60’s. Because I’ve already had one miscarriage, my doctor’s office wanted to check my levels in 48 hours to make sure they doubled. By Friday I had my second set of results. I was really nervous. I prayed so hard they would double. When I checked my results online I immediately had peace… they more than doubled. My HCG levels were at 150! I knew then that everything would be okay.

I was pregnant for a second time. I found out exactly one week before Mackenzie’s due date. It’s like this baby was sent from her. After everything Charles and I have gone through, we decided to give this baby a nickname right away. We nicknamed him Chase because we were chasing our rainbow. We were excited again. We were nervous again. But both of us knew that whatever happens, we would get through it together.

I am Thankful… 30 Things I am Thankful for.

Just Me Blogging

It is officially November 1st! I can.t believe it. Time is sure flying by! It will be Thanksgiving before you know it. 🙂 Since it is November 1st, I have decided to write 30 things I am thankful for. Here we go……

1. Fall Colors and Changing Leaves 🍁

2. Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING! 🎃

3. My Parents ❤️

4. My Home 🏠

5. My Husband ❤️

6. Doughnuts 🍩

7. My Education… I’m Almost Done! 📚

8. My Job 💻

9. My Health 🍎

10. My Readers of My Blog ❤️

11. My Family ❤️

12. Medical Insurance ✝️

13. Nature 🌳

14. Michigan 🥧

15. Communication ☎️

16. New Recipes 🍰

17. My Angel Mackenzie ❤️

18. PJs 👚

19. Rainy Days ☔️

20. Buffalo Wings 🍗

21. Thanksgiving 🐔

22. Warm Blankets 🧶

23. My Friends ❤️

24. Netflix 📺

25. Coffee ☕️

26. Pumpkins 🎃

27. Jesus ✝️

28. Faith ✝️

29. New Clothes 👗

30. Our New Little Blessing ❤️

My Besties’ Gender Reveal Party

Life After Miscarriage

On a lovely Friday evening in July, my best friend Andrea held a gender reveal party at her parent’s house. The party was at 7 but I went early to help her and Alli set up. Going to help prep the party was just like the good old days of baking together, making messes in the kitchen and laughing the entire time.

Even though I was still dealing with some emotions and grief, I was surprised by how well I was handling everything. I was and am so incredibly excited for Andrea. I love seeing her be an amazing mommy to her son, and I can’t wait for her to be a mommy to her baby that is due very soon.

At 7 o’clock we all gathered around the table. We took pictures and watched as Andrea and Zeb excitedly cut the cake that would soon reveal the big secret that was brewing. Zeb carefully served the first piece of cake on to the plate and the gender was revealed…

“It’s a Girl!” Andrea declared with a huge smile on her face. All of her family cooed with excitement, as I tried my best to keep a smile on my face. In that moment the real and raw pain of grief hit me all again. My baby is gone. It’s not fair. It still hurts. I tried my best to keep it together. I watched as Andrea’s mom cried, and cheered that her grandson was going to get a sister. I had to look away at this point, because I was overloaded by too many emotions all at once. I remembered closing my eyes and doing my best to try and muster up enough strength to show my happiness for my friend.

While my eyes were closed I got a huge hug from her mom. She was crying with happiness but also with sadness. She new my story and she new my pain. “I’m so sorry.” She said holding me. Tears whelmed up in my eyes and we had to step away. We went into the next room and talked. She was loving and kind. She probably still has no idea how much I needed that hug.

So, going to the gender reveal party did not go the way I had expected. I thought I would do fine, but when it comes to grief it can strike at any time. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Andrea was very understanding at how I felt and I truly appreciate that. Though it’s hard sometimes for me to see other expectant moms, I am super excited for Andrea and to meet her precious baby girl.

Wise Words from My Friend Andrea

Physical Health, Pregnancy

Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving. 

Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.

Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.

While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting. 

Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured. 

Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body. 

Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.

Then, the day came. The day. I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired. 

Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long. 

In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness. 

Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body. 

Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?

What is Human Development? Poem

Poems

What is Human Development?

It all starts from the very beginning…

Before a human even starts thinking

And even before the heart starts beating

It all starts at conception

When the egg and sperm engage in flirtation

That’s when it all begins

As conception takes place

The genetics and DNA become reality

And then forms a baby, for all to see

The birds and the bees

The grass and the trees

All connected through the process of development

As one big family

Seeing the OBGYN Again

Life After Miscarriage

In May I had my follow up appointment with my OBGYN. This appointment gave me some anxiety for about a week. I knew in my heart that I had been doing a lot better emotionally and mentally. I had been working extremely hard to find myself again. I worked through many emotions, counseling sessions, exercises and coping skills. I knew I was never going to be the same person I was and I still had a long way to go, however I was seeing great progress.

When Charles and I went to the OB, I was slightly nervous but did okay. Our wait in the waiting room wasn’t too long, and I was thankful they weren’t too busy. When I saw my doctor she said she was very impressed and glad I was doing a lot better. I expressed to her how I was going to do my very best to take it easy this summer and heal. She agreed that this was a good plan.

I also discussed with her how Charles and I would like to start having kids soon. Even though the miscarriage wasn’t my fault, I still wanted to know what I needed to work on and how I could be healthier before getting pregnant again. At the appointment my doctor and I made a list of things I should work on before Charles and I begin trying.

  • Lose weight and have a better BMI.
  • Exercising more and walking
  • Having better ways to manage my anxiety, meds, getting outside and walking, blogging etc.
  • Saving $$$ for Baby
  • Getting my thyroid under control with meds.

A Trip to the Emergency Room

Miscarriage

The night of February 26th, I was absolutely restless. I tossed and turned in bed until about 12:30am. I finally got up and started pacing. I was still staying with my parents. My dad woke up when he heard me awake pacing throughout the house. My dad kept me company and talked to me throughout the night. My cramps kept getting worse the more my anxiety increased.

Around 3am I felt the need for comfort. Food and my dad’s company wasn’t quite meeting my needs. Honestly, I wasn’t going to be okay no matter what I did. I wanted my baby to be okay, but she wasn’t. I went down to my parents basement and found the garbage bags full of baby items that we had packed away two days ago. I dug through them in the dark until I found what I was looking for. I started to get frustrated and almost give up… and then I found it. I found Mackenzie’s quilt. The quilt that Alli made for her. The very first gift that Mackenzie received, but would never be able to use. I pulled the quilt out of the bag and hugged it tight. This is exactly what I needed, something to hold.

I headed back upstairs with the quilt in hand. I rested in the recliner chair in the living room and watched Jimmy Carson with my dad. Ever since I had received the news of our baby at the ultrasound, my arms ached. They ached and felt like I had recently carried a ton of bricks. I wasn’t sure if it was a side effect of grief or what exactly, so I did a little research. Apparently, some women experience pain and ache in their arms after a miscarriage. This is because of the psychological longing of wanting to hold their baby. This information gave me comfort. I wasn’t crazy. I was grieving a longing for my baby. Holding the quilt helped immensely. It wasn’t my baby, but it was a tangible item that gave me comfort.

By 5am I was absolutely miserable. My dad had given me 800 milligrams of ibuprofen and I was still in a boat load of pain. It hurt to sit. It hurt to lay down. It hurt to stand, and it hurt to walk. My cramps were intense and at least at a 8 on the pain scale. Every time I went to the bathroom I feared there would be blood, but there wasn’t. By 5:30am my gut told me to go to the ER. When I had scheduled my surgery the nurse said if my cramps became too painful or I was bleeding uncontrollably then I needed to be seen. So, as my dad got the car ready, I woke up my mom and we headed to the hospital. I called Charles on the way, and scared him out of his sleep. I felt kind of bad. He had two midterms that morning and I didn’t want to be selfish… but I needed him.


My trip to the ER is pretty fuzzy. I remember Charles meeting us there. I remember him holding my hand. I know I had a pelvic exam done and they said my cervix wasn’t dilating yet. I remember it was painful. I got a shot in the arm for my pain and it made me incredibly loopy. I remember the PA talking to me and telling me I was going to have my surgery tomorrow as scheduled. I also saw an ER doctor. He prescribed me Norco for my pain. He told me “Normally, it’s not safe to take when you are pregnant, but since you are not choosing to continue the pregnancy, it’s the best option.” His words hurt me. I wasn’t choosing to go forward with the pregnancy. Excuse me? I didn’t have a choice in any of this.

Even though it’s all a blur, the biggest thing that sticks out in my mind about the ER visit is prayer. I was furious with God. I had developed a hatred for Him and how He took away my baby… but at the same time I needed him. I was scared. I didn’t want to live this life but also didn’t want this pain anymore. I wanted God to either kill me or get me through because I couldn’t do this on my own. My faith was shaken but it wasn’t gone completely. I needed God to get me through this because I felt literally everything slipping out of my control.